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Bishop Makes Bold Stand Against Censorship in the Wake of Wakeley Church Stabbing

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Only two weeks after surviving a stabbing attack, Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel returned to give his sermon, and an impassioned plea to the Australian authorities not to undermine freedom of speech in the country.

In the wake of the terrorist act known as the Wakeley church stabbing which left another person injured, and the subsequent protests, Australian authorities were quick to go after social media companies and put additional pressure on them.

Meta and X were targeted by the government to block what it termed “offensive” content (videos of the attack) both in Australia, and globally. In addition, government officials and some opposition representatives took the opportunity to push for even more restrictive rules around content censorship (“moderation”) in Australia.

However, the Orthodox Christian dignitary took his own opportunity to remind the government that treating free speech as a danger and pushing for censorship means they are ultimately undermining democracy.

X is trying to fight censorship orders – a total of 65 videos were slated for removal by Australia’s eSafety commissioner.

According to X lawyer Marcus Hoyne, who spoke during a Federal Court hearing last week, the bishop has spoken strongly against any censorship even before his first sermon after being released from the hospital, urging for the videos of the attack to remain available to the public.

“And for us to say that free speech is dangerous, that free speech cannot be possible in a democratic country – I’m yet to fathom this,” Bishop Emmanuel said, addressing Prime Minister Albanese and his cabinet.

He preceded this by saying that he believes that “every human being has the right to express their belief” and that he believes in the integrity and the identity of everyone.

The bishop revealed that he views free speech as the ability to criticize, and use speech that may be perceived as “offensive to some degree” – but that treating that as the cause of problems would mean that “everything should be censored.”

“Then where is democracy? Then where is humanity? Where is integrity? Where are the morals? Where are the ethics? What are the principles? What are the values which the Western world more-so have been fighting for?” Bishop Emmanuel wondered.

X and Elon Musk will no doubt be relieved to have the support of the victim of the attack himself in the bid to keep the material online, as they argue the need to protect free speech as a fundamental feature of a democracy.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

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